Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 2009 GHS Football Banquet

The Greenwich Cardinals football family gathered one last time in 2009 on Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency Old Greenwich. This year's banquet was unquestionably the most lavish I've seen, and a tremendous night for GHS Football.

Previous banquets had the feeling of a marathon. Tuesday night was like a mission. In other years the ceremony could stretch past three hours, but we were done in a cool two and-a-half.

Charlie Pennella produced a highlight video that ran during the non-ceremonial moments (while eating dinner and such). The best parts of the video? Well of course it had to be the moments featuring radio play-by-play from a certain blogger. It was also nice of everyone to include a thank you to all of us from WGCH in the program, and during a slide show presentation.

Coach Rich Albonizio served as the master of ceremonies, a move that worked well (I had often wanted the job, but Coach Al was great). He seemed to have more fun than I've ever seen him have, and made it clear that he intended to come back in 2010 - something that didn't seem assured at one point.

As for the awards, they lined up like this:
- Coaches Award and Student Athlete: Michael Borchetta
- National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Student Athlete: Jack Zimmerman
- Hatchett Man Award (basically, defensive player of the year): James Barrett
- Offensive Back of the Year: Michael Dunster
- Offesnive Lineman of the Year: James Utton
- Big Red (Most Valuable Player): Mike Lefflbine

The scholarships:
- Cabrera Scholarship: Evan Kavanagh
- DeLuca Scholarship (one cheerleader, one player): Joan Lee and Kyle Butler
- Chuck Zion Scholarship: Mike Lefflbine

And your 2010 captains are:
- Peter Cabrera
- Ben Ceci
- Jim Barrett
- Anthony Schepis

It's a tradition for each senior player to stand and be honored by the coach, but this year, with the new setting, each player was brought to the podium. In some cases, Coach Al actually interviewed the player (he was having a blast). Several of the players, when asked what college they would be attending, the player would respond "I don't know" which became I Don't Know University (it was a running gag).

The most touching part of the evening was when Colin Bawol was brought up to be honored. Upon finishing his comments, Coach Al said, "Your brother would be proud." The uninformed might not know that Colin's brother, Steven Bawol, died in a one-car accident exactly two years to the night. A nice, albeit sad touch. Steven's good friend (and of course mine) Nick Angotto appreciated it when I sent him a text to tell him. His parents were also touched.

By the way, these were a great group of parents. I hope they continue to visit GHS football. They, along with previous years families, feel like friends.

There was also a post-party gathering in Old Greenwich. Good times.

Every year, I wonder about doing it all again. I finished this year hungry to call more games, so I'm planning on being under the headset again for the Red and White game next June, and when the season begins in September.

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